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Citizenship and Gender in Work Organization: Some Considerations for Theories of the Labor Process

Robert J. Thomas
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 88, Supplement: Marxist Inquiries: Studies of Labor, Class, and States (1982), pp. S86-S112
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3083240
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Citizenship and Gender in Work Organization: Some Considerations for Theories of the Labor Process
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Abstract

Recent analyses of changes in the organization of work and authority relations have stimulated a concern for extending and elaborating a theory of the labor process under capitalism. Works by Braverman, Edwards, and Burawoy, in particular, have made significant, though divergent, steps in that direction. It is argued in this paper, however, that their works do not go far enough in connecting issues of race, gender, and citizenship (political inequality) with structures of control over the labor process. An analysis of data from a case study of the labor process in an agribusiness (lettuce) industry is employed to highlight the importance of citizenship and gender as statuses constructed external to economic organizations but applied internal to them. Three principal arguments are derived from that case study: (1) that differences in citizenship status and gender serve to distinguish among labor market participants; (2) that nonmarket processes affect not only the distribution of individuals into positions in the labor process but also provide distinct advantages to employers in the creation and maintenance of different labor processes; and (3) that citizenship and gender have a material basis external to the labor process, that is, they are not simply labels attached to workers. The findings from the case study are then used to suggest alternative directions for labor process theory and research.

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